At the opening ceremony of the ongoing winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the global audience was mesmerised by the art and design infused in the Korea’s traditional clothing – the hanbok, pyrotechnics and lighting technology to create head swirling visual pleasures. LEADERSHIP BOOKS & ARTS reviews the artistic and design rich performances that drew oohs and aahs from the audience. The Hanboks: As the traditional outfit of Korea, it isn’t unexpected that the hanbok will make an appearance in the Games’ opening. What was unexpected is the matching and blending of soft and bold colours, and the geometric take on the clothing. An instance is the black-white polka dot hanboks, worn by a section of dancing drummers, that tapers to a triangular shape from the waist down.
Don’t forget the aesthetically intricate dance and drumming choreography which showed off the harmonious multi-coloured hanboks. Here, a sea of female drummers in maroonwhite hanboks forms a static dense circle centre stage of the arena, while another set of drummers in white-black hanbok dance in rotating circles around the former. They form vibrating, contracting circles, then retracting into a star around the static drummers. Bright light dims to a beam at the end of the performance as the static drummers partially lift the skirts of their maroon hanbok to create the maroon-yellow emblem of the Korean Flag. The Lighting Technology: To paraphrase the S Sports Commentator, Korea displayed its reputation as the future centre of technology. Audience is taken through a journey from the past to the future, right in the arena with advanced lighting and projection technology.
The world was drawn to the illusion of grassy river, a moonlit shadowed river, and a kaleidoscope of gyrating and kinetic lights as the five Korean children lead it from the past to the future. With help of the advanced technology, they view a futuristic Korea fraught with technologised architecture, transport and education system. A performance that culminates in a futuristic dance combining combative movements, reshuffles and rearrangement of lighted door-frames. The frames give way to the cold but sleekly designed panels that release mid-air rays of light that merge to indicate the unity of universe.
The moment hints at the increasingly interconnected future of the globe. Easily identified as the ceremony’s peak moment is the sight of 100 Korean skiers skiing down a sloped path with admirable dexterity, with reams of twinkle lighting wrapped around their chest to light the way. As they slide to a dramatic but practiced halt, an aerial shot reveals 1200 drones that form the starry outline of a skier suspended in midair. Pyrotechnics: Punctuating each segment of the ceremony is the occasional explosion of fireworks into the night sky around the stadium. Beyond the aesthetics and well-thought-out design of the festival, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics projected notions of peace and unification, not only of the two Koreas by their decision to show-up as one in the Olympics, but in its projection of the past and the future. It shows the ability of sports to unite humans, and the very democratic nature and practice of respecting the old while building on the future generation to engender steady development.